Post-Grant Reports


Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant Report

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Cognition and Perception | Social Psychology


This research investigated the relationship between distorted body schema and perceptual distortions of other perceived objects. Because women tend to misrepresent their body schema, and body schema representation is multimodal (including, but not limited to spatial relations and size), it was hypothesized that this misrepresentation would encompass inanimate object representations as well. To address this question we created a manipulatable, computer-generated, 3D female body that was modified in size by our participants to best represent their own body. The program used to create this figure allows for us to translate the figure created into real world measurements. These measurements were then compared to a participant’s actual body measurements and a ratio of distortion was computed (overall and by body part).

Participants were also asked to draw inanimate figures (vases) as exactly as they could. The ratio of distortion between their drawings and the actual vase measurements was then calculated. We then correlated distortion ratios between the human figure and inanimate drawings (both overall and by part). A pilot study of 22 female participants was completed. We had hypothesized that there would be a linear relationship between body schema distortion and perceptual object distortion; this was only found in one dimension. Calf-circumference distortion ratio was positively correlated with distortions of vase width. No other measurements were correlated. These results are preliminary and some changes to our protocol will be instigated as a result. We have determined that we will not reveal the height of the 3D female body in the next phase of the experiment. Additionally, we realized that vases may be too difficult to draw and will be adding a rectangular block to the inanimate objects. The next step is to make the changes mentioned and run a larger number of participants in the experiment.

Finally, we also had our participants fill out the MBSRQ (Multidimensional body-self relations questionnaire), however with only 22 participants we do not have the power to use this measure as a covariate.


This research was conducted as part of a Linfield College Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant in 2015, funded by the Office of Academic Affairs.

The student collaborator was Grayson Lein.

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